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Tilly Highlights World of Contracting in Silicon Valley

Chris Tilly, a professor of urban planning at UCLA, was featured in a KQED report about the role of contractors in Silicon Valley, described by one tech worker as a “two-tiered caste system.” Contract workers have grown in prominence due to the ease of hiring and firing, as well as being cheaper than full-time employees. According to Tilly, “the advantages of the contractor model are even more valuable in the investor-dependent, quick-pivot world of Silicon Valley because it allows firms to quickly scale up and scale down projects with labor.” Despite doing the same work, contractors earn less and don’t share the same perks of benefits and stability as traditional full-time employees. Due to their precarious positions, many contract workers fear losing their jobs by speaking out. While workers in older industries are protected by unions, Tilly explained that “[Silicon Valley] companies start out with a blank slate,” making it difficult for contract workers to organize.

Workshop Teaches Real-World Skills in Job and Salary Negotiation

Public policy lecturer Kimberly Ling Murtaugh explained the ins and outs of job and salary negotiation at a workshop conducted in the Charles E. Young Research Library on March 7, 2019. The workshop was sponsored by Luskin Career Services, which promotes career readiness and prepares graduate students for employment. The workshop attracted students from all three UCLA Luskin graduate programs, including many second-year students preparing to enter the workforce after they graduate in the spring. Ling Murtaugh explained the essentials of negotiation analysis in three steps. First, job candidates can determine how much power they have in a negotiation by identifying their best alternatives to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) — a strong grasp of their options if the negotiation fails. Next, job candidates should identify their “reservation price,” the point at which they walk away. The last step is identifying a target, which Ling Murtaugh defined as a “realistically optimistic deal that will take care of your wants.” She recommended making a checklist of needs and wants to decide what kind of a salary is acceptable. “Negotiations are just another problem to be solved,” she said. “Tackle [negotiation] the same way you would another problem in the classroom.” While salary negotiation can be daunting, Ling Murtaugh explained that coming out of school is one of the best times to negotiate a jump in salary. She recommended preparing for negotiation by practicing with family members, friends or classmates. “Know your worth,” Ling Murtaugh told the graduate students. “Candidates have sources of power that they often forget.” — Zoe Day

View photos from the workshop on Flickr.

Negotiating Salary and More